Magento Web Design: Developing the Best eCommerce Site

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As eCommerce becomes an increasingly crowded space and platforms like Amazon continue to dominate exponentially larger swaths of the market, some merchants are having a heck of a time attracting and retaining retail customers.

For sellers to elevate their conversion rates and cultivate customer loyalty, it is critical to consider holistic user experiences as a foundational building block for growing sales.

Magento is a top eCommerce platform for a whole slew of reasons. One of the most significant reasons is because of the unparalleled flexibility in Magento web design. Because of the platform’s open-source nature (which provides complete freedom), many of the world’s most recognizable organizations employ Magento’s services.

However, there are also scores of smaller retail companies that are migrating to Magento from other eCommerce platforms, specifically for the openness in Magento web design.

If your brand is on–or considering moving to–Magento, consider these six Magento web design decrees when developing a site optimized for sales.

Choose the Right Theme

When it comes to Magento web design, the theme is the foundation for all else that follows.

Using Magento, retailers can purchase a ready-made theme, or they can opt to have a custom one created from scratch. The fact is that some sellers might find a Magento theme that suits their needs relatively well. However, when opting to go this route, retailers are likely to sacrifice a lot of features they might desire as these theme templates are designed for the masses, thereby aiming to suit a variety of businesses.

When merchants go with one of these out-of-the-box themes, what they are losing out on is optimized performance, usability and an overall reduction in quality of the user experience, as the theme was not made for the store and its customers in specific.

Alternatively, hiring a certified Magento developer to craft a custom theme will provide merchants with a greater degree of control over every aspect of the store.

While ready-made themes might seem like an easy way to get going with Magento web design, the fact of the matter is that these will quickly increase in cost as merchants require a variety of extensions, integrations and a developer to help ensure all these elements play together nicely (which they rarely do).

That said, the path that purveyors opt to take is truly up to them, based on their business’s needs.

mobile responsive layout graphic

Ensure Mobile Responsiveness

Way back in 2015, Google launched changes to its search engine algorithms (what else is new, right), which began factoring in the site’s mobile presence as a ranking signal. Aptly dubbed Mobilegeddon, Google’s mobile-friendly update ushered in a new era in which responsive design became a must.

While today this may seem like an ancient topic given that everything has moved to the mobile realm, a responsive web design is still just as critical as ever given that 40 percent of consumers will go to a competing site if a retailer’s mobile experience sucks.

For those who are late to the game or not in the know, responsive web design alters the layout of a site based on the device it is accessed on by a consumer, thereby making it ideal for mobile engagement.

A mobile responsive layout includes design elements such as:

  • Readable text without zooming
  • No horizontal scrolling
  • Sufficient space for tap targets

Responsive web design (also known as RWD) provides an optimal viewing experience across all forms of electronics. Magento 2 responsive design templates include Luma and Magento Blank.

The image below illustrates how Blank optimizes a webstore for different devices:

css responsive layouts various devices

However, one of the more considerable challenges to a responsive Magento web design is that the codebase can be extremely bulky, thereby resulting in slow load times. This is one of the reasons that sellers should consider getting more flexibility with Magento PWAs. We’ll come back to this topic later.

Some of the Magento responsive design best practices that merchants might consider deploying include:

  • Loading priority content first
  • Employ server-side technology to render images for the device used
  • Utilize a content delivery network to optimize performance
  • Use open web fonts

If sellers want to know more, check out this responsive web design in Magento 2 course from Magento U.

Place Importance on the Homepage

The homepage is one of the store’s most important pages. While it is vital to optimize category pages, build better product pages and the like, if merchants feature an ugly and cluttered homepage, good luck getting someone to those deeper destinations.

When a consumer lands on a seller’s homepage, they should be greeted by a clean, colorful experience that features:

  • Hero content
  • Value propositions
  • Promoted categories
  • Promoted products
  • Specials and sales
  • Additional content like blogs, testimonials and user-generated content from social media

consumer experience sellers website graphic

While it may not be necessary to include all of these elements, there should be some combination of these components.

The reason that these aspects are all important is that these will give customers a good feel for the brand and the products it sells. If consumers misconstrue a site from its homepage, it could reduce sales as they will not look for the product they are seeking.

Moreover, a misinterpretation of the brand can also cause bounce rates to increase. By merely glancing at the store’s homepage, consumers should be able to gain a good understanding of what they can find on the site.

Provide Filtering Features and Sorting Options

One eCommerce website component that has become a staple over the past several years is faceted navigation. However, on Magento, this feature is called layered navigation.

Put plainly, layered navigation gives consumers the means to filter products within a category by a variety of different attributes. This element is essential as it allows shoppers to more quickly locate the item or items that they are looking to purchase. When consumers are able to expediently find what they are looking for, the chances of a conversion increase significantly.

Fortunately, there are a variety of Magento web design extensions for layered navigation that help shoppers get to what they are after without any page reloads. Such tools are critical for retailers who are aiming to create an outstanding eCommerce experience on Magento.

Additionally, it is also critical for retailers to enable the ability for consumers to search their site via a search bar, as this is a necessary component to a stellar user experience.

While filtering and sorting options let shoppers browse the items that are most likely to interest them, a search bar allows consumers to get right to the heart of their visit. As an added bonus, searchers will also see potential product suggestions that might interest them.

The fact is that filtering, sorting and search options are all Magento web design necessities.

Optimize the Checkout Process

The checkout process is another incredibly important component of a profitable eCommerce website. The fact is that there is a wealth of Magento web design strategies that can optimize eCommerce checkout flows.

Part of the reason that streamlining the checkout process is so important is that, as is reported in the Baymard Institute cart abandonment research, nearly a quarter of those surveyed cite “too long/complicated checkout process” as the reason for ditching their order.

Plainly put, the number of pages and form fields that merchants require users to go through and fill out directly correlates with cart abandonment rates. For instance, as Baymard reports on checkout flows:

“Our benchmark reveals that the average checkout flow contains 23.48 form elements and 14.88 form fields (when purchasing as a new non-account customer). Yet a fully optimized checkout flow can be as short as 7 form fields, with a total of just 12 form elements.”

This means that scores of sellers are creating unnecessarily lengthy checkout processes that are harming their conversion rates. By minimizing the number of pages and form fields shoppers must complete, sellers can increase their sales significantly.

This claim is further supported by Baymard’s research, which goes on to state that:

“Our checkout benchmark of the top 60 grossing US and European e-commerce sites reveals that the average checkout flow for a new user is 5.1 steps long – counting from the shopping cart step to the order review step (both included).”

Additionally, this information from Baymard has been exemplified in Visiture’s own work as well. After partnering with Spanx for a Magento web design and development project, the company’s shopping cart flow was truncated to a two-page checkout process, thereby resulting in an increase in average order values of 28 percent, an elevation in conversions by 40 percent and decreased its bounce rate by 10 percent.

Therefore, to optimize the checkout process and increase sales using Magento web design principles, it is necessary for merchants to create a short and easy checkout flow. Some ways that this can be achieved include:

  • Minimize the number of checkout pages
  • Reduce form fields to only the information that is necessary to fulfill the order
  • Use a single-click auto-populate feature for billing and shipping address information
  • Employ a progress bar to inform shoppers how close they are to being done

Create a Progressive Web Application

As it stands, progressive web apps (PWAs) are currently redefining the mobile experience. Because this technology blends the best of both mobile websites and native applications, consumers are provided with a far better user experience. Such enhancements often result in a considerable uptick in conversions, which has been shown by a variety of case studies.

Moreover, PWAs allow shoppers to access a merchant’s store through a mobile home screen icon, as they would with a traditional application. However, PWAs are effectively still websites–discoverable through the Google SERPs and all.

Magento is one of the companies that is leading the charge into the PWA-driven future with its PWA Studio. The toolset provided by Magento enables sellers to create progressive web applications for their shoppers, thereby elevating the user experience in significant ways.

As Magento states about the PWA Studio:

“The Magento PWA Studio project is a set of developer tools that allow for the development, deployment, and maintenance of a PWA storefront on top of Magento 2. It uses modern tools and libraries to create a build system and framework that adheres to the Magento principle of extensibility.”

The fact is that the PWA Studio has massive Magento web design implications. Outside of the enhancements to the customer experience, PWAs provide developers with a contemporary front-end structure that allows for the creation of a PWA on top of Magento, while still managing all channels via a single code base, deployment and application.

Additionally, the PWA Studio employs modern browsing features such as service workers, which draw notifications, cache materials and store data.

When looking at the tangible results that PWAs provide businesses, their value becomes abundantly clear. For instance, through PWA implementations:

The bottom line here is that leveraging Magento web design tools like the PWA Studio can help brands to create faster, friendly and more profitable online stores.

pwa implementations graphic

The Magento web design tactics discussed in this article are a great starting place for retailers to optimize their online stores and develop the best eCommerce website possible.

By ensuring that merchants begin with the right foundation, provide a responsive design, feature a well-designed homepage, offer the right kind of navigational and discovery tools and tout a succinct checkout flow, sellers will be well on their way to creating a powerful eCommerce experience.

Additionally, if sellers want to go the extra mile and push forward into the future of mobile eCommerce engagement by developing a progressive web app, there are tons of benefits that can be reaped while the competition continues to sleep on the technology.

If your brand wants to develop a powerhouse PWA solution or procure a fully optimized and beautifully designed Magento storefront, reach out to Visiture. Our web design and conversions optimization teams have the skills and experience to elevate your brand to the next level of success.

Join 150+ Leading eCommerce Brands

And see how Visiture can grow your revenue online through award-winning transactional focused marketing services.

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